Monday, November 28, 2011

Feels Like Coming Home to Ski Season

What a week it was to kick off the ski season!  
For opening day last Tuesday, I snuck Bridget away from preschool for a girls' day on the slopes.  (I knew taking Timmy also, who is almost brand-new to skiing, with just one parent was a recipe for disaster - he needed some undivided attention.)  The sun was shining and everyone at the Learning Center was just happy to be back on snow.  Although I was feeling a bit wary at first that the strip of man-made snow on the bunny hill might be too narrow for her, she surprised me with her skill at negotiating her way around.  I could hardly contain my enthusiasm as I saw her hop onto the chairlift with ease, chat about the snow guns blasting on the upper mountain on the ride up, and snake around other skiers and riders on her way down, as if it was all so natural. I was amazed at how much difference just a summer's time of growth made for her.
We returned that afternoon with Timmy to check in with Erin at the Bretton Woods rental shop to check their boot and ski sizing, test the bindings, and get a quick tune-up.  After two years in the smallest boots and skis they make, Bridget finally graduated to 80cm skis and a slightly larger boot.  To see what they needed, Erin took the liner out of the ski boot shell and had each child put a foot in.  We wanted a thumb's width of wiggle room in the toes and behind the heel.  For the ski length, Erin said to start a height between their chest and chin.  As they get older the ski length varies more by ability, but at this stage it is based more on height.
Timothy was overjoyed with the idea of having his own skis and boots, and tromped around in the boots until I had to make him take them off.

A wonderful blanket of snow over the mountain called my name on Wednesday morning, and this time I left the kids at preschool for some Outdoor Mom fast and furious laps on Bigger Ben and Bretton's Wood trails.    The snow mounds were soft and edgeable and I charged the slopes until my unaccustomed quadriceps begged for mercy.  

After a a most satisfying day of Thanks with friends and family, we returned to the slopes on Friday, the whole family and bags of gear in tow.My husband Matt and I took turns, one guiding Timothy down his first runs on real skis, while the other tried to keep up with Bridget.  

Now confident enough to cruise ahead without Mom or Dad right nearby, I realized that I had to think a few steps ahead of my daughter to set her up (as best I can) for success.  If I didn't talk with her before we got off the chairlift, she was so eager that she would barely wait for me to come along.  So on the ride up, we would talk about what she needed to do, so that she wasn't just careening down the hill, barely controlling her speed.  My brother from Colorado, a long-time Ski Dad himself, suggested that to help her avoid sitting back on her skis, "stand up tall, clap your hands and wiggle your toes."  We also worked on making "snakeys" down the hill to get her to turn more, and Dad played "Red Light, Green Light" with her to practice stopping.

Timothy picked out his first ski helmet from TreeTop Sports, a Giro Slingshot, just the right size for a little monkey.  The Paul Frank Julius monkey design was irresistible to Timothy, and I was glad to support a local business on Black Friday.

The kids were eager to return on Saturday morning, and Bridget practiced more turns while we coaxed Timmy into sliding along without the support of Mom or Dad.  Later, while Dad took Bridget on her first run ever off the Bethlehem Express Quad, Timmy enjoyed a muffin on the bench outside the base lodge before heading back over to the Learning Center to play with the elephant slide and pet Spotty Dotty the giraffe.

 So, what has worked for you when the kids start to "get it?"  


  1. It's so nice when the ski season is here again! I'm hoping to get up tomorrow for my 1st day of the season. You have cute kids!

  2. Thanks, Linda W.! It looks like a lovely day for skiing... I hope you enjoy it!

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